Information is power, equip yourself with all the necessary knowledge needed to grow your brand. Develop yourself, know your strengths and weaknesses, focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. While you work on your weaknesses, employ capable people to fill in those positions where you consider your weakness. You honestly can’t be everything to your business. For instance, if your strength lies in customer relationship and PR service and you have little or no sewing skills, Focus on your customer relationship and PR skills and work on your sewing skills. This way, the business does not suffer and your skills are effectively and efficiently utilized. — Eki Okubanjo.

Eki Oris is a fashion company that specializes in both custom made and ready to wear (RTW) clothing for the fashion-conscious woman who appreciates finely constructed pieces of impeccable quality, targeted at females 15 years and above. Eki Oris designs are influenced by simplicity, individuality and comfort of their customers.
The Eki Oris Kidswear is a clothing and accessories brand for kids (male & female) aged 0 months – 12 years. It’s a bespoke & ready-to-wear brand which has found its niche in using unique African prints and other fabrics to tailor exquisite and comfortable outfits for children.

Eki worked full time in a private company as the customer relationship manager and also did a bit of business development. During this time she was running the Eki Oris brand as a side hustle. She wore her designs to the office and got a lot of pleasing comments. She made pieces for some of her colleagues and got lots of referrals through them.
In her quest for more, she decided to quite her 9-5 job and give her fashion business the time it requires.

The Eki Oris brand has successfully maintained its integrity over four years by putting customers first, keeping to deadlines, being dependable and also giving out quality products and services. These are some of the things that make the Eki Oris brand special.

I understand the importance of having a conducive and happy working environment for your staff, because once your staff are happy and comfortable, they’ll definitely deliver their best and I have implemented this principle into my business.

Eki Okubanjo learned the basics of fashion designing from her mother who had a tailoring shop while growing up. She launched “Prints by Kira and Eki” with her friend during their National Youth Service (NYSC) year but they parted ways.

Eki Oris was founded in 2015 as a home-based business, and also a side hustle which she ran alongside her corporate job.
In July 2017 she resigned from her corporate job to focus on her business. She had saved up some money, and got some funds from her dad and boyfriend (now husband) to set up.

In her own words, “I had no prior knowledge of running a business, I didn’t know how to calculate my cost, the overheads were a lot, I didn’t know the best salary method to use for paying my tailors. I made mistakes with designs, fabric etc and I have had to refund money back to some customers, but all these experiences helped shape me into becoming a better fashion entrepreneur. Having worked in a corporate environment before venturing into full time entrepreneurship, I have also brought in a lot of knowledge I learnt while I was with my previous employer into my business. I, more than anyone understand the importance of customer management. I brought in my negotiation skills, marketing skills etc into my business and I understand how important it is for a business to keep their business data as this is what will help you make better decisions. I have implemented all of this in my business.  In retrospect, when I think of my entrepreneurial journey, I’m honestly glad for how far I have grown. I have learnt from all my mistakes, challenges and also my customers. Experience is something that cannot be bought and my experiences so far have helped me put in proper structures and policies in place that are currently helping my business.”

As an entrepreneur, Eki finds the most satisfaction in IMPACTING lives. She loves that she is able to impact lives through beautiful clothes. An Eki Oris woman is bold, and confident and I love that my designs automatically instil confidence in my customers. An Eki Oris woman goes about her daily activities with her head up and ready to conquer the world because she’s confident in herself.
“I also love that I can positively impact the lives of my staff through the jobs I have provided for them, they in turn can impact their own lives and fend for their families.”

There’s no better time to start than now! Just start. You don’t have to wait till you have everything sorted out to start your business, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t rush the process as well, allow yourself to grow and learn and celebrate the small wins.

Eki Okubanjo sums up all her experiences, including successes and failures in this powerful piece of advice: Importantly information is power, equip yourself with all the necessary knowledge needed to grow your brand. Develop yourself, know your strengths and weaknesses, focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses. While you work on your weaknesses, employ capable people to fill in those positions where you consider your weakness. You honestly can’t be everything to your business. For instance, if your strength lies in customer relationship and PR service and you have little or no sewing skills, Focus on your customer relationship and PR skills and work on your sewing skills. This way, the business does not suffer and your skills are effectively and efficiently utilized. Also, you honestly need a trailer load of patience and hard work to survive in the fashion industry. Finally, please always remember the God factor. Always pray to him for wisdom to help you run your business, pray for your staff and also your customers.

Omotola Olaniyi-Omosebi is the current Creative Director of Gmoty Fashion Academy. A graduate of Business Administration from Yaba College of Technology Yaba Lagos. She founded Gmoty Fashion Academy in 2014 graduating from Ginani Fashion School. In 2016 she attended Zaris Fashion Academy for a finishing course. Her mission is to help women become resourceful so they can help their children and family.

“A few years ago, I struggled with how to cut and sew clothes, I didn’t know where to start from or where to learn the skills I needed. So I spent years looking for a solution to this problem from different places. I ended up wasting years learning little to nothing, I wasted money and time yet with nothing to show. On different occasions I would watch videos, read books and even attend sewing group tutorials all in the hope to learn. My sewing skills, interpretation of designs or perfect finishing was nothing to write-home-about. I became so confused, worried, scared and frustrated because I knew I was losing out, I didn’t believe in myself and my skills as I couldn’t sew anything meaningful for myself, not to talk of making clothes for clients. I spent a full year learning from a so-called ‘good’ tailor. But I knew if I could get hold of these skills it would help a great deal. I knew I needed a way out very fast because it was starting to affect my self-esteem; I didn’t like the fact that I was always asking my husband for every single kobo I needed. It was really bad. I finally found a way out.”

Today the story is different, as Omotola not only sews well fitted garments, she also now help and teach other married women who are interested about learning how to sew and earn from the skill. In May 2018, she opened a Fashion Training Academy where she trains people so far, they have trained over 300 women (boys and girls also included for summer classes) and still counting. Gmoty Fashion Academy is indeed a community that helps women find clarity and move very fast from being a full housewife to a resourceful housewife.

Her fashion school doesn’t teach only fashion, they also teach the business side of fashion. This is where they bring in experts from the industry to train and educate their students on selling and branding etc. They train them and we give them their first job.

They also teach their students how to use the latest tech tools to promote their products and services.

We do fashion training and education, sales of fashion designs (Ready to Wear), childrenswear, handcrafted products made by students, including Laptop Bags, Ankara Tote Bags, Neck Pillows and Accessories etc. We also offer a range of consultancy and advisory services.

Omotola specializes in African ready to wear, casuals and corporate wear. She has participated in various fashion shows including Runway Fadan 2015 (Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria), Ankara Fiesta 2015 and a host of other exhibitions.

She has participated in various fashion shows including Runway Fadan 2015 (Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria), Ankara Fiesta 2015 and a host of other exhibitions.
Omotola is a recipient of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 women initiative Scholarship, and studied Entrepreneurial Management at the Pan Atlantic University (Lagos Business School). She is a member of FADAN (Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria) the recognized body for the Fashion Designers Profession. Also a member of AFDEC (African Fashion Development and Empowerment Centre).

What gives her the most satisfaction as an entrepreneur is the ability to practice her skills every day, and she is happy that this skill is creating the safe place for women to grow their self-belief so as to become support systems to their families and role models in their communities. Omotola finds joy in seeing women become more involved in running the home front, leading in their communities, and speaking out loud with their heads up high. This can only be achieved when our women are empowered with livelihood skills, when they have different streams of Income.

This is why Omotola screams to anyone who wants to listen “Learn a skill today!! Never depend solely on your spouse, the power you have is that little money you can call your own. The best time to start is NOW!”

A translator turned designer and manufacturer, her entrepreneurial journey started in 1992 when she tried her hands at making a diaper bag for her first daughter.

Since then, she has poured all her energies into building her business, consistently pushing the boundaries and emerging as a leader in the Nigerian leather space.

Renowned for her statement, colour-drenched pieces, Femi has received several awards, and in 2013, her business became a case study for MBA students at the prestigious Pan-Atlantic University in Lagos. 

Nothing, absolutely nothing in her background had prepared her for the world of entrepreneurship and she did not have an entrepreneurial mindset as both parents were academics.

She learned all she needed to start up her business from books, as the Internet was barely three years old when she started and Google didn’t exist then. She kicked off as soon as she got tangible information and started with her friends and family as her first set of customers.

Success as they say, is 10% inspiration (creativity) and 90% perspiration (hard work), that failures, frustrations and setbacks are all part of the growth process and that very simply put, in spite of the curveballs that life may throw at you, you must keep showing up.”

In her words, “A major turning point along my journey was being selected in 2008 as one of the first set of  Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women scholars. This gave me the opportunity to attend an entrepreneurial programme at the Enterprise Development Centre in Lagos and undergo a business course for the very first time. After that, the ball started to roll and I was twice nominated to attend mentoring and networking programmes in the United States, where I job-shadowed some famous American handbag designers.”

“In 2010, I participated in my very first stand-alone international Accessories Show, Pure London. I felt the time had come to reposition my brand, and that led me to rename my line of leather handbags;  Femi Handbags was born. Before long, my business became a case study for MBA students at the Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos.

“In 2017, determined to change the landscape, I took the boldest step of my life and created the Lagos Leather Fair, a platform designed to promote Nigerian talent, tackle the industry challenges and begin to unlock the massive potential of the leather industry in Nigeria. With the support of the Bank of Industry, and a few other organisations, we were able to curate a massively successful, world class event. We have earned some recognition and been featured on local and international media, including CNN Marketplace Africa and BBC News Africa.”

2018, she opened her first flagship store in a high-end area of Lagos, showed on the runway at the Autumn/Winter edition of the London Fashion Week and have since participated at two editions of the Coterie trade show in New York at the invitation of SheTrades, a businesswomen’s empowerment initiative under the International Trade Centre (ITC) based in Switzerland.

Femi believes you are not successful until you have creates value in the lives of others.

Your team plays a very vital role in your business, and no matter how successful you become, you’re really nothing without your team.”

She enjoins entrepreneurs to work hard as much as they believe in their dreams. She believes in hard work, grit and tenacity as the key to success.

She said they must not be afraid to ask for help, but build a tribe on the way up, because at the end of the day relationships matter. That they must stay focused, stay curious, expand their mind and programme their mind to win, so they can develop a growth mindset and continue to thrive and grow.
Entrepreneurs must keep challenging themselves, never stop learning, keep building and preparing because, like they say, luck favours the prepared mind. They must seek to exceed expectations, and excel in all they do. And finally, they should trust the process, and remember always that good things take time.

In terms of the brand however, Femi Handbags has become much more than a handbag brand. It embodies the values of excellence and integrity to be  cherished and has become a symbol and an expression of creativity, positivity and possibilities.

The brand sends out very clear messages and seeks to tell a powerful African story, change the negative narrative around ‘Made-In-Africa’ brands and shatter established stereotypes around African luxury.

Shoes perform the dual function of making a fashion statement and protecting our delicate feet from dirt and dust. It is without doubt that I say that everyone loves great shoes that both look good and feel great.
Sadly, for many school kids in Nigeria, having such shoes is simply not an option, and when it is an option, it is a luxury for them. The desire to make a remarkable impact in the lives of these Nigerian school children, coupled with intense passion for making beautiful shoes led Temilade Adegbite, an entrepreneur shoemaker to launch Right Legs shoe business.

Temilade who didn’t come from an entrepreneurial background was inspired to launch into entrepreneurship due to her personal problems with finding shoes that fit her big foot. As she grew older, it became a challenge as it became more difficult getting the designs she wanted for my size. She found out through a survey she carried out that a lot of other people face her dilemma and she acted on the thought that prompted her into learning shoemaking craft and produce designs that are inclusive of all sizes.

Temilade sees building a business that produces bespoke shoes for customers as a means to contributing to the society at a social impact level, using her expertise to produce shoes for those kids that don’t have and cannot afford them.

This is why the goal of Right Legs is centered around catering to big-footed customers and supporting poor kids with good footwear to wear to school. And as a standard policy, 5% on the price of every set of footwear bought by customers goes towards the making of school shoes for kids that can’t afford to buy them.

Beyond the profit, her greatest satisfaction as an entrepreneur comes from being able to solve the problem of access to footwear in different sizes. Another satisfaction comes from being able to create great shoes from raw materials, producing something that is both beautiful and practical and that everyone wants on their feet.
Temilade also enjoys the pleasure of creating shoes for Nigerian future leaders.

Her personal experience is the best piece of advice she can give to every intending business owner, it is simply:

Find the need and solve the problem.


Most beautiful girl in the world, Jare Ijalana, has nothing but good news two years after going viral .The little girl who is already in London will walk the runway during their fashion week alongside other models – Jare told her young fans through social media that they can achieve anything.

In 2018, a modest Nigerian family identified as the Ijalanas woke up to news that forever changed their lives. A simple photo shoot turned them into instant celebrities and propelled them to greater heights.

Two years later, Jare Ijalana, their daughter, can proudly say she will walk the much coveted London Fashion Week runway. 

In 2018, photographer Mofe Bamuyiwa posted a snippet of sisters Jare, Jomi and Joba without expecting it to cause too much fuss. However, within a couple of hours, she learnt the three girls broke the internet. International news outlets were baffled by the natural, flawless beauty in the photos and tirelessly searched for the three kids.

Jare especially had people thinking she represented perfection and grace. Just shortly after becoming an instant celebrity, the phones started ringing. Jare became a model and gigs started streaming in. Celebrities across the world wished they could meet the little girl even for a day and just stare at her bewitching face for a second.

Big congrats to you young Queen. Go and conquer the world.

Through EWARE (Empowering Women in Arts and Related Enterprises), Adara Foundation trains financially challenged women to be skilled artisans, knowledgeable about and able to produce and trade profitably in the best quality adire, tie and dye and batik paint. EWARE women are trained by some of the leading textile artists in Nigeria. Over 200 women have been trained since the program launch in 2017. Adara was founded in 2015 and has impacted over 6,000 families through its skills acquisition development and access to health and education programs.

TAN by Tiffany Amber is the diffusion line of the iconic African lifestyle brand, Tiffany Amber. TAN aims to be more accessible to women and girls across Africa while still carrying the heritage of the anchor brand, Tiffany Amber. TAN mixes a blend of modern designs with the culture and creativity of our fast growing continent by sourcing locally produced inputs and partnering with local and African artists and artisans to deliver fashionable and culturally authentic products.

Tiffany Amber and Adara Foundation share a common goal in deepening the fashion industry in Nigeria by creating a platform for creative fabric design led by women.


Credit: pulse.ng

Few weeks ago, top comedian Alibaba shared the story of a young woman who made bespoke shirts for men, the post not only went viral but inspired several people , most especially youths who were still finding it hard as start-ups. 23 years old Angela Okon is the young woman he was talking about, a graduate of Accounting from Lagos State University who carved a niche for herself in the men’s fashion industry, as the creative director of Ikadi Shirts . According to Jane, being the only girl among three kids and the inability of her brothers to get ready made shirts inspired her to start her brand. She shares her story and aspiration with me in this inspiring interview

Childhood Influence
My mom was a business woman. So I grew up looking up to her. As a child, I had always known that I would be an entrepreneur and that made me pay close attention to my mom’s business. It was from there I got firsthand knowledge on how to run a business.

Meet Me!
I’m 23 years old. I come from a family of three children of which I’m the only daughter. I love being different and doing things differently. Many people think I’m weird and sometimes I agree with them.

Inspiration behind Ikadi Shirts
Well it all started with a family problem. My mom found it impossible to get ready made shirts for my brothers. Apparently, we have very long hands and slim body in my family. So it was either the shirt was too big or the sleeve was too short. Then she decided to get a tailor to make shirts for them but the quality of the shirt was poor. As a result, I decided that shirt making will be my means to penetrate the fashion industry since this problem is faced by many. It’s not that there were no bespoke shirts brand before we started but we strive to meet a high standard while making it affordable for the customers. In this way, men no longer have to manage ready-made shirt that doesn’t fit all in the name of getting a quality shirt but now they can get a premium quality shirt that is made specifically for them.

Motivation to pitch my tent in the fashion world of men
One of my childhood decision was to have a business that would produce something my family needed so that they would never have to buy it elsewhere. Since I was passionate about fashion, I decided to go into men fashion so that my brothers and my dad would never have to buy clothes elsewhere. Another reason is that 98% of my friends are guys, I find it very easy dealing with men than with women which is probably as a result of my upbringing. So the men fashion industry was the perfect choice.

Power supply as a business Challenge
Closing deal with prospect outside Lagos is one challenge. We have to get the customer’s measurement before production but when they are outside Lagos, they would have to get a tailor to measure them then send to us. Some of them do this, while some don’t. As a result, we might lose that prospect. However we are working on resolving this issue. Another challenge is power supply but we all know that’s not new so I won’t discuss it.
I blogAside making bespoke shirts, we also run a blog that provides information on men style tips. You can check it out on www.ikaidiclothingblogspot.com

Customer satisfaction is my reward
The joy I see in the eyes of a satisfied customer. When a satisfied customer tells me how much he has spent on shirts that were of no good and how glad and relieved he is to have patronize the brand, this is the greatest reward. There’s no other joy that can be compared to knowing that you are making an impact.

In five years
In 5 years, we would cover the whole of Nigeria and Ghana.

Ever thought of giving up
No. Although, there were times I needed a break, but my mindset has always been “I die here no matter what “.

My inspiration
My mom is my inspiration. Though she’s is late, I have never met any woman as driven as my mom. She taught me a lot about hard work and the benefits of always being hungry, never settling for less.

Reception since I started
It has been positive all the way. No dulling moment. This gives me the conviction that I’m on the right path.

Asandia Hogan is poised to become the first female chairperson of Calabar Municipality. She is the first woman to ever vie for this position.​

Born on August 25, 1981, Asandia Bassey Asuquo Hogan is a mother, wife and businesswoman from Ikot Nsisuk, Ward 6 of Calabar Municipality, who was able to carve out a niche for herself in the fashion industry.

According to a popular social analyst, Asandia brings a fresh outlook to the politics of Calabar municipality and Cross River as a whole. Her youthfulness, and background in both the private and public sector for the past 20 years comes to bear. Her boisterous ideologies about life could be that fresh breath that Calabar municipality needs.

Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, is the tourism capital of Nigeria. Administratively, the city is divided into Calabar Municipal and Calabar South LGAs. Everyone knows there is something about Calabar. They just can’t really place it, but they know it. There is something about the people and their food. Asandia is a true-to-type Calabar woman.

Asandia’s bold bid to take the reins of Calabar politics has prompted questions from different quarters. How thick is the line between fashion and politics? Doesn’t she look out of place at the corridors of power? Wouldn’t her swing to politics destroy what friends, fans and family have always known her to be? Could she possible bring some style to the government quarters owing to her background in fashion designing?

She did not just find herself in politics, as many would assume. She has been a member of The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) since 2008 after she came back from studying Marketing and Public Relations (BA) in England. Her mother has a political history of her own too; she was the PDP Deputy Woman Leader South-South political zone till her death in 2001.

Social analysts believe that her strength lies in her being an astute business woman, wife and mother. These roles she juggles effortlessly, lends credence to her suitability for the job. As the first woman to ever vie for this political seat, she has garnered the support of feminists, humanists, rights groups, the youth and other similar groups. This has already become evident in the kind of support she has been getting across different social and political platforms.



There is no second guessing Nigerian designers hold no bar when it comes to their creative expressions via the clothing medium. They exhibit a stellar comprehension of Africanesque style ethos without losing grip of contemporary appeal in the conveyance of their messages of tasteful fashion inspired by Africa. One of such designers is Osuare who dished awesome goodness on a platter of glam with their SS ’15 collection, “Reflections.” The collection is trés chic and boldly ethnic with its unique aesthetic that makes me once again proud to be associated with Nigerian fashion. I particularly love the allusions to ancient African ancestry with the hand-painted masks and highlights of bead embellishment on the otherwise plain dresses; they added the pizazz which makes the Osuare pieces covetable wardrobe staples.

The consistent originality in the works of many Nigerian designers today shows great promise for the future of the fashion industry on this side of the clime. The way they are able to sleekly establish a connection between tribal nuances and Western influences is one which provokes a certain emotion that is both visual and mind engaging.

Nigerian designers put the same amount of energy in their choice of fabric as much as they do in the designs of a collection. Basically, the fabric has become the basis and the foundation of a collection. Gone are the days when designers pick random fabrics from the textile shop. A great amount of thought is put into the making of a fabric- The texture, the silhouette and the prints are put into consideration; these factors therefore determines the choice of design it is made into.

@osuare and @sashescouture are two designers who practically hand-make their own designs. I like how they can both redesign an existing fabric by putting their personal touch into it. @osuare is no doubt inspired by art and her fabrics are usually done in tie and dye, she makes paintings and drawings of art work on them thus making it look really African. However, I like how she contrasts the African inspired fabrics with the use of western designs. The ability to come up with a red carpet piece in an art work based fabric is pure genius.

@sashescouture is an expert in incorporating two or more Ankara fabrics to make one piece. The creativity behind the use of multi-fabric is not a new trend but not every designer can execute the art perfectly. I like how @sashescouture stealthily makes the “cut-out” of an Ankara piece into another in a way that one can hardly tell it’s a multi-fabric.

Nigerian Designers are more authentic in their designs as a result of what their fabrics represent- it represents African culture and Africans generally identify with the prints.



PHOTO CREDIT: @dejikinpeluphotography
MODEL: @theresaedem
FASHION & HAIR STYLING: @keluspecial
MAKEUP: @tolumakeovers